Our Baltimore show, produced by Our Door, is only six days away! We are so excited to introduce another dynamic cast member, Beth Bracaglia!
Tell us a little about yourself.
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 23, and have been a positive advocate ever since. I’ve tried to never let the diagnosis stop me in attaining my hopes, dreams and vision for my future. I’ve been married to my husband Nick for the past 17 years, and we live outside of Baltimore with our spoiled dog – our puggle, Buddha. We are also a very proud aunt and uncle of 11 nieces & nephews!
How has mental illness affected your life?
Mental illness has literally affected my entire life. My father suffered from bipolar and never took his medication on a regular basis. He was a rapid cycler and I didn’t know what mood he would be in from day to day, which made it difficult when visiting him in California for a month every Summer from when I was 8-17. It took a toll on our entire family and it also caused many problems, including my parent’s divorce when I was 7.
My paternal grandmother also suffered from being bipolar and there certainly wasn’t much research or assistance given to her back then. It has truly been a part of my whole life, yet I’m grateful that I learned what not to do from my father’s many mistakes. From the day I was diagnosed, I’ve learned as much about how to live with it, treat it and have been the best advocate for my health.
What inspires you to stay mentally healthy?
Knowing that I can take care of myself and live that I designed for myself helps me to stay healthy. I want to inspire others who have been diagnosed to be strong and to continue to smash the stigma of mental illness.
Why did you want to be a part of This Is My Brave?
From the moment that I read the article about Jennifer Marshall’s struggle and why she founded This is My Brave in Oprah Magazine, I knew that I had wanted to be a part of the stage production. After writing my story 5 years ago in the Heal My Voice compilation: Fearless Voices: True Stories by Courageous Women, I wanted to find a platform/stage to share my story and to inspire others. I wanted to let them know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that being diagnosed doesn’t always mean what the media portrays. You can live a complete life and thrive while living with a mental illness.
What do you hope the audience takes away from the show?
If we just talked more about our weaknesses and what we each deal with every day, people would be able to relate more to the stories and come away with more knowledge and understanding. Every one of us has deal with some type of health issue – and while it may not have been related to mental health - we can all have compassion for the people who are fighting the battle. It’s certainly time that we all learned more and talked more about mental health.
Tickets are now on sale for our Baltimore show on December 7th at Towson University, produced by Our Door! Hope to see you there!